DIY Booster: Learn How To Lay Pavers Like a Pro

After you learn how to lay pavers your DIY skills will expand. Pavers can be used for many projects. One way to use pavers is for patios and walkways. Whatever you decide, patio pavers are easy to install.  

how to lay pavers

Install pavers that you like. They can include personalized content and follow unique paving patterns. With home improvement, patio pavers offer opportunities to explore your outdoor creative design skills. You can lay them in the dirt or create layers to secure the pavers to deter weeds and insects.

How To Lay Patio Pavers Like A Pro

A Complete Tutorial On How To Install Pavers Like A PROView in gallery

You will learn everything you need to know in the following step-by-step guide to laying pavers. We will take you through the steps of creating a walkway or wrap-around for your porch. 

For this tutorial we used 6″ x 9″ and 6″ x 6″ pavers but you can use any type of pavers you want as long as you calculate the depth of them. Because you need to add in gravel and sand which takes up some of the space. 

11 Easy Steps For A Paver Patio Project 

To make it easier, we’ve consolidated the steps for a paver patio project. By narrowing everything down, we’ve made it easier on you.

This means that they need to be weatherproof, sturdy, and withstand constant foot traffic. But the process of creating this paved area isn’t as difficult as contractors make it out to be. 

Prep Step: Choose A Pattern 

how to install pavers with patternView in gallery

Pavers aren’t bricks or stepping stones. A paver can be anything that you lay in patterns. The difference between most materials like tile, for example, and pavers is that pavers are for outside purposes.

Buying materials and choosing paver patterns are necessary before starting a backyard project. Search online for inspiration or look at brick bonds to find the right pattern for you.  

Step 1: Mark Your Area

Step 1: Mark Your AreaView in gallery

The first thing that you want to do is mark your area. You can make the area any size that you want. But before you start digging, it’s important to know how much materials you need to mark out where you want the pavers to be.

For a standard walkway, 36-inches is good, but you can go up to 48-inches for a more comfortable walkway. Just don’t go much less than 32-inches or visitors won’t feel comfortable walking, especially with children beside them. 

Step 2: Break The Roots

Step 2: Break The RootsView in gallery

Start at the edge and use a tiller or even a hoe to get started. This is to make shoveling the dirt out easier as well as help you find any roots or rocks that need to be removed. 

After you till the land, break the roots. Cut the roots further than necessary for optimum results. 

Step 3: Dig The Area

Step 3: Dig It OutView in gallery

Nine inches deep is the ideal depth. Just enough for six inches of gravel as well as the depth of your pavers. 

Start digging, and don’t worry about leveling your surface. You can do that later. At this point, you want the dirt out of the way. Find a safe way to dispose of or disperse the dirt somewhere. 

Step 4: Tamp The Dirt

Step 4: Tamp The DirtView in gallery

Tamping is the process of compacting the dirt to make it safe and secure. You can get a tamping tool or an equivalent tool. 

Tamp down the dirt. Don’t leave any loose areas or it could create problems when it shifts. It also won’t let the pavers lay flat and will make it difficult to slope the gravel. 

Step 5: Square It Off

Step 5: Square It OffView in gallery

It’s important that the area is square. So after you have everything dug out, use a square, measuring tape, and level to ensure the area is square. If you don’t take the necessary precautions problems will arise in the long-term.

A good technique involves staking down a string and measuring each string to make sure each end is the same. Then, use a square so each corner is at a right angle as all pavers need to have right angles.

Step 6: Add Gravel And Slope

Step 6: Add Gravel And SlopeView in gallery

This is an important step that some people tend to skip. But both adding gravel and sloping it are important. Add crushed stone, limestone, or pea gravel to the area until you have about six inches or a little more of gravel.

Begin the sloping process. There needs to be at least one percent of a slope or one inch every ten feet, preferably a little more.  

Step 7: Add Sand

Step 7: Add SandView in gallery

Adding sand is also important because the pavers will sink into it. Add the sand about an inch or less thick. You can add pipes or small boards in the sand to help you smooth it out and level it.

Any sand will do. It’s best to choose the softest sand available. Masonry sand is ideal. You could also use playground sand is fine. Just any sand that will smooth out nicely when you scrape it down.

Step 8: Start Adding Pavers

Step 8: Start Adding PaversView in gallery

Place you pavers in the sand. This part is just like laying tile. Use full pavers unless you’re experimenting with a unique paver pattern.

Begin laying pavers in one corner and work your way in a pattern. You can do this any way that you want since this isn’t a tile that can’t be walked on while you are working. A little weight won’t hurt the pavers. 

Step 9: Cut The Pavers

Step 9: Cut PaversView in gallery

When laying pavers you may to have to cut some of them so they’ll fit in your path. This will be around the corners of objects. For this, you will need to find the cutting tools that work for your pavers. Not all pavers are the same. 

If your pavers are straight, you won’t have any problems. You could try scoring and breaking the pavers if they are the right kind for your project.

Step 10: Tamp It All

Step 10: Tamp It AllView in gallery

After all the pavers are laid, even the cut ones, you need to tamp the pavers down. Tamping the pavers will prevent accidents and keep things secure, making the paved walkway last much longer than it would without tamping.

You can start at one corner and tamp away. It may not shift at all, but if it doesn’t that’s okay. You don’t need to apply too much pressure or you’ll break your patio pavers.  

Step 11: Apply Grout

Add GroutView in gallery

For the grout for pavers, something like polymeric sand is your best bet. This sand is made for use as grout in pavers and more. If you can find it then it will be worth it. 

Wet the pavers down and wash any excess debris or buildup. You may need to let the sand set for a while. 

Project from hawke2005.

Paver Block Shapes

Paver blocks come in four generic shapes. You can have other shapes custom-made, but the following four styles are the most common and sold at hardware stores. 

  • Non-traffic: Paver blocks with plain vertical faces, which do not key into each other when paved in any pattern,
  • Light traffic: Paver blocks with alternating plain and curved/corrugated vertical faces, which key into each other along a cure or corrugated face.
  • Medium traffic: Paver blocks having all faces curved or corrugated, which key into each other along all the vertical faces when paved in any pattern.
  • Heavy traffic: ‘L’ and ‘X’ shaped paver blocks which have all faces curved or corrugated and which key into each other along all the vertical faces when paved in a pattern.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Does A Paver Block Laying Machine Work?

You can lay pavers semi-automatically with a paver block laying machine. The machine moves slowly over the dirt path. Paver blocks are placed over the top positions of the tapered frame.

The blocks move slowly to the bottom as the frame is tapered. The pavers will lay upon your dirt path as the machine slowly moves backward. This is how the blocks are placed.

What Tool Can I Use To Waterproof Patio Pavers?

A battery powered pail sprayer or standard pump sprayer are both recommended for sealing patio pavers. When working with a water-based sealer, use a traditional garden pump. If you’re working with a solvent-based sealer, a heavy-duty metal pump sprayer would be ideal.

How To Lay Pavers: Wrap Up

Learning how to lay patio pavers is like playing with LEGOs. When you were a child and you built your first LEGO home, the feeling was overwhelming. Apply the same mentality to laying patio pavers and you’ll have just as much fun.

Laying patio pavers is not the equivalent of advanced quantum physics. You don’t need a formal education to work with them, nor do you need a professional to lay them for you. If you’ve just built a patio, enjoy the efforts of your work.  

If you wanted to keep going, building retaining walls on either side of your walkway would complement your new patio pavers. Throw a tree in the mix and a few shrubs to create a backyard sanctuary.